Vietnamese People in Sri Lanka Struggle Amidst Severe Economic Crisis

Sri Lanka is going through the most difficult time in its history since it gained independence in 1948.
April 22, 2022 | 14:00
Vietnamese People in Sri Lanka Struggle Amidst Severe Economic Crisis
Ambassador Ho Thi Thanh Truc gave gifts to help poor households in Colombo before the New Year. Photo: WVR

The severe economic crisis made the lives of people, and especially low-income households, severely affected due to shortages leading to skyrocketing prices of essential commodities as food, fuel, and medicine.

The small, peaceful island nation became the international media focus, when spontaneous demonstrations of the people spread across the country, with the participation of many sectors, ethnic groups and religions.

Among the peaceful police, there were also many attempts between people and law enforcement to break through the fence around the President's residence or tried to set fire to a petrol tanker, forcing the authorities to shoot.

Information and pictures about the shortage of gas, electricity, gasoline, medicine, protesters all over the streets, even camping near the President's House during the New Year period are all on the mass media.

The Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka has to struggle to cope with changes in daily life, due to daily power cuts in hot weather conditions, peaking at 13 hours/day and currently from 4-6 hours. They have to queue for kilometers, even overnight, to buy cooking gas or fuel their vehicles. The prices of all goods increased, while the wages of workers did not increase, the income of business households decreased.

There are not many Vietnamese living in Sri Lanka, currently only about 300 people. The community includes people married with indigenous people, monks and nuns studying and practicing at Buddhist workers universities/institutions and more than half of them are working at construction companies.

The community has a tradition of solidarity. Taking advantage of the technology, through the platform of social networks such as Messenger, Zalo, WhatsApp, information exchange between the Embassy, ​​the community and between people in the community takes place regularly and timely.

The situation of the country was shared and updated by the Embassy and people on forums. They remind each other to filter information to respond without panic; advise each other to obey the laws of the host country. Vietnamese people in Sri Lanka are ready to help and encourage each other to adapt to the situation, and overcome this difficult period.

Vietnamese People in Sri Lanka Struggle Amidst Severe Economic Crisis
Master Phap Quang gives gifts to poor people in Kandy. Photo: WVR

The Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka shared their unhappiness when reading articles that did not fully reflect the actual situation in the area.

One-sided information, lack of thorough understanding of the problem causes confusion and worry for the families, relatives and friends of people living and doing business away from home.

They said the press has the right to write about different perspectives on an event. However, for the island nation whose revenue is mainly based on tourism, writing about positive topics in Sri Lanka will contribute to helping the people here overcome the immediate difficulties, and the country will soon return to stability.

According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, as of March 31, the number of foreign visitors to the country since the beginning of the year reached 285,334. In March alone, there were 106,500 visitors, mainly from India, Britain, Germany, Russia and France.

On the last day before the New Year of the Sinhala and Tamil people (the two main ethnic groups in this island nation), the Sri Lankan government announced the suspension of international debt repayment obligations. They spend their meat foreign currency reserves to maintain the purchase of essential items.

On the morning of the first working week after the holiday, the government worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), international organizations and donors, bringing positive changes.

The Vietnamese community in Sri Lanka always has a positive view. They always hope good things will come to the beautiful country of Sri Lanka, and the friendly people there.

Many Vietnamese who have lived in Sri Lanka for a long time consider the island nation their second home. They hope that the current difficulties will soon be resolved, the country will sustain. When Sri Lanka returns to normal, the life of the Vietnamese community here will also be more peaceful and happier.

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